Are There Zombies in Scripture? – Matt 27

Are There Zombies in Scripture? – Matt 27

This is a continuation from Are There Zombies in Scripture, Alan’s post last weekend about whether or not we can find zombies in the Christian Bible.

Last week Alan discussed a strange plague of physical ailment that very closely resembled zombification. So his major connection was between the symptoms of the undead and the symptoms of a plague. I want to talk about the thing that makes zombies really unique and special: the fact that they are reanimated corpses.

This is a touchy subject because Christianity is largely concerned with the resurrection of the dead, and, this being one of the most important elements of the faith, Christians are generally quite touchy about how this is dealt with. I would say that generally the resurrections demonstrated in Scripture have distinct characteristics that would render the likelihood of them being zombie reanimations virtually null.

There is however an exception to this rule. It is an obscure and rarely quoted brief passage of Scripture found in Matthew 27 directly after the death of Christ. The two verse passage casually points out that:

the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. – Matt 27: 52-53 (NKJV)

This passage is incredibly ambiguous. I want to break down a few elements of it that don;t fit the typical resurrection patterns of Scripture and how those things may indicate that these were something else, something possibly related to the undead:

  • first, this followed an earthquake. No one told the bodies to rise, no one called to the dead people telling them to come back to life. The earthquake shook things up and the graves opened.
  • also, this states that these were bodies not people. When Jesus raised Lazarus it was clear that we were talking about Lazarus the man, not the body. Here we are talking about bodies. Very unusual. Could these bodies have risen, but not the saints that had once indwelt them?
  • another interesting thing is that it does not say they woke up. It says they had fallen asleep, but not that they woke up when they came out of the graves. Generally when Jesus brought people back to life he told them to wake up. So were these saints still sleeping while their bodies walked around?
  • and lastly, they did not talk or do anything but simply go into the city. When people were raised from the dead they normally said something like they were hungry or something. These bodies just went into the city. What for? Maybe they were hungry too … for flesh!

So, as you can see, this passage doesn’t fall in line with most of the other true resurrections of Christian Scripture. Is it because this was not typical? The next verse states that these bodies that had risen from the graves and gone into the city inspired fear, even in the guards, which seems pretty likely in the event of the undead rising from the grave. Then silence on the subject. Most other resurrections are given quite a bit of airplay. This, mass resurrection/reanimation gets only two verses? Seems odd… unless?

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5 Comments

  1. True, these events are mentioned in the good book. But let’s remember that Christ “descended” first into “Paradise/Hades” to remove all the souls who did not deserve to be there. This is what I believe caused the earthquake. Such an event would have caused Lucifer to become enraged, thus shaking the very world!

    Though it says “Saints” were what got up from the graves, it could also be that Lucifer let slip some of the more evil souls to come back and cause massive fear, thus the zombies that are eluded to having gone into the city. But I think they really were some of the souls that Christ brought out of paradise. I think He allowed them to appear to many people to tell of what had happened before also being taken into heaven.

    I like these thoughtful articles you right, gentlemen. Please keep it coming.

  2. This is really secondary, and I know that one of the early creeds says that Jesus descended into “Hades,” but do you know of a Scripture reference for this? This is one of those interesting topics that pop up from time to time.

    -Alan

  3. Sorry that it took so long to get this info to you, Alan. But in regards to your question, “do you know of a Scripture reference for this,” it is mentioned in Ephesians 4:7-9 which reads:

    “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, early regions?”

    I know many who argue that this only says he came down from Heaven to the deepest of all the earth before ascending to heaven again, but does not the bible say that Hell is located beneath the earth? If Jesus came down, he had to all the way to Hell to release the saints trapped there before He began to build the Mansions He went to Heaven to prepare for us.

    My thought is that when Christ did this, Lucifer was in raged at knowing he did not defeat Christ at all, but simply helped our Lord take souls from his domain, thus making his power weaker in a sense. Either Lucifer’s anger shook the earth, or the release of the saints from Hell by Christ Himself was an aftershock effect.

  4. Michael,

    Yes, that’s the passage that usually used to point to Christ’s descent into Hades. In fact, I think some of the earlier creeds refer to that passage.

    -Alan

    • The Heidelberg Catechism says in Question 44:

      Q. Why is it added: He descended into Hell?

      A. That in my greatest temptations I may be assured that Christ, my Lord, by His inexpressible anguish, pains and terrors, which He suffered in His soul on the cross and before, has redeemed me from the anguish and torment of hell.

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